Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mental speed bumps

The lovely Suzy has drawn my attention to a Marrickville Transport Action Group initiative called K-Savers. The K stands for kilometres, and the project's goal is to reduce car dependency and consequently increase community mindedness. They give practical advice for 'traffic calming' on your street (as has been done on Victoria Street in Erskineville) and raise the idea of 'mental speed bumps', which is about creating intrigue and 'linger nodes' on your street, encouraging drivers to slow down and be curious, and also reminding them that they're traveling through a community where real live people reside.

I am a huge fan of both lingering and intrigue. The K-Savers suggest reading a book on the footpath, sitting on a bench, putting up a basketball hoop, giving cupcakes to neighbours, drawing up a hopscotch, painting a mural, putting furniture and art on the street, writing poetry in chalk or holding a street party. I think Wilson Street does this better than anywhere in Newtown. I'm always going somewhere fast when I'm walking down Wilson, usually en route to a train I'm about to miss, but I usually find myself stopped in my tracks at some point to inspect something of intrigue.

Suzy says a street meeting inspired by the K-Savers has already taken place on Trafalgar Street to discuss ways of improving the neighbourhood and reducing traffic. In Paris they have a yearly Fete des Voisins (Neighbours' Party), a night where everyone meets for drinks and nibbles in the courtyard of their building.

I think it behooves me to organise an (Apartment) Block Party for this Spring. I'll keep you posted.

For more information on K-Savers, write to ksavers at marrickvilletag dot org


Justyna said...
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Anonymous said...

whatever you do, i am simply pleased that you have begun to use the word "behooves"

justyna said...

Dear Nosey, please correct my spelling mistake. I've asked you politely. It was a typo. I do not deserve this embarrassment.

Nosey in Newtown said...

I've deleted it for you, Justyna (I can't edit it). Your unblemished spelling record remains intact.

Lucas: Behoove is now my favourite word. I have even made it in Scrabble.